Month: May 2009

When the lights went out

When the Lights Went Out Cover

“Hindsight is a great simplifier, and the Seventies as an era has been simplified more than most.”

Andy Beckett

My interview with Guardian journalist Andy Beckett about When the Lights Went Out, his reassessment of the 1970s (were they really as bad as we remember them?) has recently gone up on the Faber website. You can listen by clicking here.

Andy interviewed many of the major political figures from the decade. There is, for example, an almost tragi-comic encounter with the very elderly Ted Heath. I asked him before the interview whether he’d tried to get an audience with Margaret Thatcher and he pointed out that his previous book had made that a bit of a long shot:

Pinochet in Piccadilly

Transmission resumed

Ishiguro Nocturnes coverI realize that things have been a little quiet on the Podularity front lately, so I thought I’d reassure you I haven’t hung up my microphone. In fact, I’ve been busy producing podcasts for a wide variety of people:

  • Meanwhile, Mark Thompson’s The White War has recently won the 2009 Hessell-Tiltman Prize. The prize is awarded for the best work of history published each year on events before 1945. The book is an account of the Italian Front, a major forgotten conflict of the First World War. You can hear me talk to Mark here.
  • The series of fortnightly podcasts I am producing for Blackwells has already notched up nine editions. In the latest programme, you can hear one of Britain’s most eminent novelists, Kazuo Ishiguro, talk about his first volume of short stories, Nocturnes, a bittersweet collection that owes its inspiration to Ishiguro’s fascination with music.
  • In the same programme I also talk to Nick Davies, whose book Flat Earth News, last week won the first Bristol Festival of Ideas Book Prize sponsored by Blackwell. As it happens, I have also been making recordings for the Festival, which will be appearing on their site soon.

All that said, I have been doing some interviews for Podularity: Mary Beard on Pompeii and Christopher Kelly on Atilla the Hun are both awaiting editing, and on Monday I shall be interviewing Michael Moran about Polish life and history.